Snow causes parking lot jam

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Daphne Yu

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Photo by Daphne Yu
The snow storm that hit mid-Missouri last Thursday not only resulted in an unplanned, four-day weekend, but it is still affecting RBHS students as they return to school. Snow still fills both the north and south parking lots of the school, causing congestion and gridlock this morning. Nearly 20 minutes after the tardy bell rang this morning, students and parents alike still sat in stalled cars, stuck near the entrance to the north lot.
At 8:06 a.m., junior Amanda Baker was “sitting in north lot because there’s just been a traffic jam,” junior Amanda Baker said. “I’ve just been sitting here for 10 minutes so far and my sister, [senior Makayla Baker] says she’s all the way back to the car wash and none of the cars are moving. Cars are just parked on the side and there’s no room. It’s just one lane right now.”
Students who arrived to the north lot earlier were not able to easily access the lot as they normally would, since only one entrance was clear of snow, so they parked on the side of the road. Other students who were dropped off faced a different problem. Instead of being able to pull up right by the school, some parents opted to let off their kids near the entrance of the lot because access to the drop-off area was not easily accessible.
“There were lines everywhere today,” senior Sofia Diaz said, “and I couldn’t get [through the snow] so I had to walk around the parking lot.”

“There were lines everywhere today, and I couldn’t get [through the snow] so I had to walk around the parking lot.”-senior Sofia Diaz.”

While some students were late because of the jam, others had trouble getting out of their individual neighborhoods. Main roads in Columbia are mostly cleared, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, but some neighborhoods are still covered in ice and snow.
“We were late getting here anyways [be]cause the neighborhoods are hard to drive through anyways,” sophomore Miranda Burke said. “And then we pulled up [near RBHS], and we saw a bunch of cars, and we thought there was an accident. So we just kept going and we passed the career center and got stuck for 20 minutes. We finally got into the parking lot, and it took us 12 minutes to get to the middle, and we realized [the snow] closed off all the parking spots. We had to reverse, and all the cars had to pull back.”
Assistant Principal Dr. Tim Wright and RBHS resource officer Kesha Edwards tackled the situation a little after 8 a.m. by directing traffic and radioing in license plate numbers of cars illegally parked. Within 10 minutes, students who were previously stuck were able to move into the lots.
“I’m so cold because I just walked in from the baseball fields,” Baker said at 8:15 a.m. when she walked into the north commons. “A lot of the spots in the baseball fields are taken up but now I see that they didn’t plow the entrances to certain parking sections and that eliminates so many parking spot. There are so many unused parking spots right now.”
Almost 30 minutes after school began, students such as Baker were still trickling into school; the attendance office saw many of the students who went to obtain tardy passes, but the numbers are not drastically different from any other day. Instead what is out of the ordinary for attendance secretaries is contacting students whose cars are illegally parked.
“I don’t think it’s been a whole lot worse than normal, really. I don’t think it’s that much worse,” attendance secretary Jan Fowler said. “Finding students who have to move their vehicle. Apparently the parking lot is a mess, and students parked in areas that might obstruct traffic. We contact the students directly, and if they don’t move their vehicle, they’ll be towed. It’d be wise of them to move it quickly.”
By Daphne Yu
Additional reporting by Maria Kalaitzandonakes. 
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